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Freefall Paperback – May, 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 313 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Press (May 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312922744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312922740
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,781,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is a factual, hair-raising account of a 1983 Air Canada Boeing 767 that, due to a maintenance man's mathematical error in fueling and a fuel system computer malfunction, ran out of fuel and immediately lost all electrical power while in flight at a height of 41,000 feet. Captain Bob Pearson received many accolades for successfully landing the plane at an abandoned Canadian Air Force Base. The journalist authors tell the story of the 29-minute glide and the gripping real-life terror from the perspectives of the pilot, crew, air traffic controllers, and passengers. The book is well-written and has an excellent postscript which discusses the lengthy investigation, the issue of assigning blame, and the subsequent modifications made to procedures, checklists, and equipment. William Hoffer coauthored Midnight Express (LJ 4/15/77).
- William A. McIntyre, N.H. Vocational Technical Coll. Lib., Nashua
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T.M. Reader VINE VOICE on April 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book while on a recent 10 hour trans-Atlantic flight to pass the time and kind of spice things up (e.g. turn my long flight into a Disneyesque "Roller Coaster of Death" ride, where you really know you're going to step off perfectly intact at the end).

This great non-fiction book gives a detailed recounting of Air Canada flight 143, which in 1983 ran flat out of fuel while at 41,000 feet over Middle of Nowhere, Manitoba. Yes, TRUE STORY! (Don't let the 41,000 feet scare you -- altitude is your friend when out of fuel).

The writers give a little biography of some of the key crew members and passengers, which was only somewhat interesting to me (however, I was very interested in the flying history/experience of the cockpit crew). The star of the story however, is the fuel-less Boeing 767 and the frantic efforts of the Air Canada team to get the plane on the ground safely.

Authors William and Marilyn Hoffer did an excellent job of providing the technical aspects of the aircraft and industry without ever going over my head. I felt like I understood at each stage of the story, why something had happened to the aircraft, and what the impact was. Ditto for the sequence of actions by the entire flight crew.

I'm assuming the reader has figured out that this wasn't a mass loss of life disaster (duh, there is even a previous Review by a person that claims to have been on the flight). Not wanting to give too much away, I'll merely add that many fortuitous "coincidences" in the tale were not lost on me. Such as: Captain Bob Pearson was a hobby glider pilot (767s are not designed to "glide", but when in such straits, every bit helps), and, another occupant on the plane "vaguely recalled" a possible landing sight.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chris on February 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Hey, my name is chris, i happend to be on flight 143, the flight this book is wriiten about. when it happend, i was only 3, although i still remeber it. I read this book when i was 12, and from my memories of the flight, it was dead on, great book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "dbasarab16" on February 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is like glue. Once you put it into your hands you can't put it down. This is a story based on factual events that could not have a better ending. Great analysis of the chain of events that led to this incident. I strongly recommend it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book when i was 15...7 years ago, and i still remember it like it was yesterday. Awesome book. Very detailed account of the true story of Flight 143. Great portrayal of the people on the flight. Too bad it's not in print anymore...hope they can find a copy.
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By SammDude on March 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
I read the condensed version of Freefall via Readers Digest that was extracted directly from this book. It will keep your eyes glued to the pages as this is a true harrowing story. It precedes Capt Sully Sullenberger's similar scenario. Quick background --after graduating from college in Mechanical Engineering in Spokane, I went to work on the Boeing 767 assembly line in Everett Washington in 1989 as a Tool & Production Planner. And had always been an aviation buff. That same year I had joined the Boeing glider club and then that same year (1989) a family member gave me the R.D. copy of this story that ran in a condensed format. When flying a glider that year, I learned that you only get 1 chance to land. I walked onto the 767 daily and it is a large twin aisle jet. It is not enough to say that it is remarkable that Capt Pearson happened to be a glider instructor outside of his flying profession ( as I recall in the story). As Capt Pearson details, Air Canada had just transitioned from U.S. gallons to Metric & had recently ordered their jets to Metric fuel calibration (Liters). When the 767 lost all fuel at 41,000 feet, he was now flying a 130 ton glider. I won't spoil it from here. Extremely exciting action. For me the only other books close in gut-wrenching action is Nimitz Class by Patrick Robinson and Hunger Games.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a person who has had an interest in the aviation industry.It was a no brainier that I had to read how such a modern airliner could reach a situation of no fuel in flight and then how the flight deck reacted to save the situation and everyone's life.
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By Andrew Vos on November 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book! You get the feeling that you were in the plane with the passengers during one heck of a ride!
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